Internships& Work-Exchange Program
 

We are happy to offer you a volunteer opportunity at the STAND Center! Due to the popularity of eco-tourism in Belize, many ‘volunteers’ are actually just looking for cheap or free lodging without considering the costs involved in hosting volunteers. Broken tools, building maintenance, and mistakes made by unskilled volunteers can be costly. (We once had 2 guys form Germany staying with us who nearly burned down our entire farm!!!) So even though it may seem as though it would not ‘cost us anything’ to just let you stay here, and that we should thus be able to host people for free, out of the goodness of our hearts, We just can not. Generalized Reciprocity means we all benefit by sharing what we are able to share! Aside from the financial costs of accepting volunteers, there is also the value of our time in having created the facilities you will use and our time in teaching you, supervising your projects, etc to consider. We are not hobby farmers, this is our LIFE’S WORK we are sharing with you. We do want to share our knowledge and hopefully inspire you, but we need you to come prepared to share with us also. We therefore have two basic options for volunteering here. If you are short on money but have ample time to contribute to gaining valuable skills that will allow you to be a net asset here, you may apply for an Internship with us. If, on the other hand, you do not have much time to contribute, but would still like to learn about organic permaculture and natural living, we offer a short- term work-exchange program. 


We ask all interns ad volunteers to be willing to pay $20-35 US/night (plus 9% Hotel tax)  for a 2 week ‘trial period’ Your contribution pays for the required taxes of hosting volunteers legally, helps maintain buildings & electrical systems, replace tools, upkeep our water system etc.


During this time, we can get to know one another, and decide how you best fit into the projects and opportunities here. It also allows us to see that you are serious, and not just out for a free ride!



Work-Exchange Program (minimum 1 week)

4 hrs per day

5 days per week

$35 US/ per person per day financial contribution

SOME FREE Farm Foods (You will need to buy foods too!)

Up to 20% discount off workshops and programs

*After one week you may choose to apply for our Internship program


Internship Program (minimum 5 weeks)

*LIMITED AVAILABILITY

6-8 hours per day

5-6 days per week

FREE lodging in Community Center

Up to 30% discount on workshops and programs


Lodging:

We offer volunteers lodging in our beautiful etho-hostel at a discount off our normal rate when it is not otherwise reserved. In the high season (October-April) we cannot offer as much discount, but you will get more one on one time with us, since you will be renting the Etho-House privately. In the low season, we offer and even lower shared rate.We may also offer free lodging in one of our more rustic accommodations. These include the Tree-House, The Hermit Shack, or our Community Center.


Work Commitment: As stated above, for the duration of your work- exchange arrangement you will contribute about 4-8 hours per day 5 days per week, to farm work with Forest, or if you prefer, you may opt to help Andrea with childcare, food preservation and housekeeping. We do not operate on clock time however, and if a project needs a bit of additional focus one day (ex. 20-30 extra minutes) we ask that you be willing to contribute to seeing it through. We also expect everyone to have eaten breakfast and be ready for their assigned tasks and projects at 8 am each morning. If we offer you an Internship, you may be asked to work 6 days per week some (BUT CERTAINLY NOT ALL) weeks.


Foods:

We will share some foods produced on the farm, which are seasonally abundant, with volunteers and Interns, but until you have been trained and given permission to do so, All farm foods will be harvested with or by senior members. Also, if you prefer other foods not grown, gathered, or produced on the farm (pasta, north american vegetables, corn flour, dry beans etc) you will have to buy these yourself. We do have local  organic produce packages as well as bulk whole foods such as rice, beans, and corn flour available for purchase here at the Center for a cheaper rate than is available at local stores, but specialty and imported items will have to be purchased in town.  Do come ready to cook for yourself. Cooking is done both individually and in groups, sometimes other community members and volunteers using the same kitchen may invite you (or you them) to share in preparation of meals, and 1-3 x per week we have a larger community meal eaten all together. Everyone is expected to contribute a food item and/or toward cooking and cleanup of any community meal.


Transportation:

We ask you to contribute $40 US/$80 BZD toward gas for the ride in and will arrange pickup from the belmopan bus terminal. After that you are welcome to get a ride into town to buy any needful items on any non work day. We do ask that, if you choose to ride with us (and there is room) you contribute $20 BZD at least towards gas and wear and tear on the vehicle. Otherwise, we are happy to pick up a reasonable list of items for you if it coincides with the stores we plan to visit in town.


Workshops:

We host various workshops and programs here both for paying groups and guests and for long-term volunteers. Long-term (5 weeks or more) volunteers are sometimes allowed to participate as assistants in any workshop being offered for paying groups or guests. We also sometimes offer free workshops to both long and short term volunteers when we have time to do so. Volunteers may participate in a maximum of two weekly workshops during the work week and any weekend workshops. Short-term work-exchange volunteers are eligible for a 15-20% discount on workshops and live simply programs, INterns save even more!!!. A complete list of the workshops and programs we offer can be found HERE.


Water/Electricity:

The pure spring water we use here is only as free as the pipes we must maintain to keep it available to everyone. The same is true of our hydro-electricity system. Your financial contribution helps to upkeep these systems, for everyone’s use.


Internet:

We do have wifi internet access available at certain times in our home. We charge a flat rate of .06 per kB. We do not have a computer than can be used if you lack a wifi capable device, SORRY! Volunteers are expected to use the internet after 5 pm, NOT during the work day when farm and community projects are being carried out.


Community Building: We are, first and foremost, a family oriented community. All of our programs, projects, and goals here are related to the central goal of building a permaculture community. With that in mind, for individuals and families interested in the possibility of making Belize their home we are more than happy to assist in that endeavor and can be flexible with the needs of prospective community members. Having gone through the cultural, legal and emotional trials of emigrating to a new country we have much experience and wisdom on which to draw to assist you, so don't feel shy to ask. We also aim to constantly develop the various opportunities available for long-term members to make an income through our programs, value-added farm products, sustainable forestry management etc. While we cannot promise anyone a paying job, we do believe that together with hard work, determination, and ingenuity, the possibilities for creating a sustainable life here are endless!


Community Meetings: We hold a weekly Community Brunch and Meeting each Sunday at 4 pm in which all community members, including work-exchange volunteers and interns are asked to participate. Here, we discuss the last weeks projects, create new project goals for the coming week and volunteers and community members choose or are assigned to the coming tasks/ projects. We also discuss and resolve any conflicts or concerns within the community and then break for the afternoon, coming together again for a Community dinner around 5 pm, followed by live music.


If you are interested in volunteering please contact us at:


workexchange@stand-ce  nter.com